What does Spain really need right now? A little bit of Las Vegas.
US billionaire Sheldon Adelson wants to build a $35 billion mini-Las Vegas strip in Barcelona or Madrid, Reuters reported.
Adelson, of course, is no stranger to the casino business. The controversial CEO of the Las Vegas Sands Corp. has been working diligently to spread a little bit of Las Vegas around the world in recent years and just opened a shiny new casino in Macau, otherwise known as "the Monte Carlo of the Orient."
Adelson's ex-partner on that project probably didn't show up for the opening celebration though. He's suing Adelson for $375 million and accusing the Las Vegas Sands of misconduct in its bid for its Macau casino license.
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In Spain, Adelson is thinking 12 resorts, six casinos, a concert hall and a few golf courses in a neatly designed package about half the size of the Las Vegas strip.
He sees it as something of a Las Vegas for the European market, Reuters said. And he's willing to bet the European economy will have picked up before it opens. Of course, he's pressuring Spain to hedge his bet. Adelson not only wants tax breaks for his project, he also wants some major changes to Spanish laws.
Adelson’s company hasn’t made its case publicly and the aura of secrecy is raising even more suspicions. The company did not answer multiple requests for comment.
Spanish economists and politicians are skeptical Adelson can create the jobs and wealth he promises. But Christian Science Monitor said Madrid still looks pretty willing to give him what he wants in hopes the casino will help it work its way out of its worse recession in decades.
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